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Starting small cow operation ?'s

This is a discussion on Starting small cow operation ?'s within the Farm Forum forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • How to make money or at least break even with horses or cattle
  • Profit margin cow calf operation

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    01-15-2013, 09:11 PM
  #11
Weanling
Yeah I agree everyone, weaned calves then fed to sale weight is my plan. Anyone have more info on what is the best feeds to put weight on over the Summer? Vaccinated? Worming? How often? Fill me in!
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    01-15-2013, 09:12 PM
  #12
Weanling
I don't know what the market is like in your area. Where I am, grassers are making money (but cattle prices are good in general). You should study the markets in your area, and go from there.

Another idea is to line up some customers that want to buy a half or quarter at a time, buy yearlings in the spring, and sell the meat directly to customers. Some people will pay a premium for grass-fed beef. I'm oversimplifying that scheme, but you get the idea.
     
    01-15-2013, 09:52 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaG    
I don't know what the market is like in your area. Where I am, grassers are making money (but cattle prices are good in general). You should study the markets in your area, and go from there.

Another idea is to line up some customers that want to buy a half or quarter at a time, buy yearlings in the spring, and sell the meat directly to customers. Some people will pay a premium for grass-fed beef. I'm oversimplifying that scheme, but you get the idea.
Yes I got it ;)
I will look into that as well
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    01-15-2013, 11:09 PM
  #14
Yearling
I personally like grassfed better. Most of our cows at home don't know what grain is. They are on a strict grass (in the summer) and hay (in the 5 or 6 months of winter that we get here) diet. They tend to get fat! If that cow isn't feeding a calf they end up with rolls of fat around the tail head. We also are organic as possible, no dewormers, no delicer, no vaccinations. There is a natural alternative for the common problems... Diatomaceous Earth for lice, basic H for worms... and many other natural remedies. That being said, if we get a sick cow, it gets the veterinary care that it needs.
Most grass fed grazers use paddock grazing. You rotate the cows every day to a new temporary paddock. It works well for the cows and does wonders for the pasture as well. We have used this technique for around 6 years now. It has improved every pasture we have used it on. It goes well with the planting your land once and that's it. You can improve the land so much that you never need to reseed it. We turned a 20+ year old hay field (that was dying) into a lush thick pasture with a couple years of intensive grazing and one year of bale grazing. Bale grazing is where you set round bales in a grid, pull all the strings off, and, using temporary electric fencing, letting the cows have a couple of bales at a time. There is a lot of 'waste', and the first year it looks like you killed the grass where the bale was sitting, but the second year the growth was incredible! If you do want to try grass fed look up The Stockman GrassFarmer.
I wish you all the best in what ever direction you go with cows. They can be a lot of fun, even if there is a lot of work and head aches.
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    01-16-2013, 12:06 AM
  #15
Started
I have a friend that bought a few (6) longhorn cows and a bull, thinking she would have a nice tax write off for a few years. They made her money every year.

Next, she thinks buying corrientes will surely lose her some money. Nope. She's been making money off them, too, for 6 or 7 years now.

Such a problem, we should all have! She does have more acreage. What you can do just depends on what you have available.

Good luck!
     
    01-16-2013, 09:26 AM
  #16
Weanling
If you are in a rural area with neighbors that run cattle, talk to your neighbors. I would see if I could buy a few calves from a neighbor at a reasonable price. That way you know what you are getting; sale barn calves are stressed & frequently get sick. Also, you said you want to make money.....the profit margin in cattle is slim in a good year and nonexistent in a bad one. The goal is to put in AS LITTLE money as possible, it help to start with healthy, minimally stressed calves. Preferably vaccinated and castrated prior to purchase. If making money is the goal, I wouldn't bother with cattle. If you like cows & just want a self supporting hobby, go for it.
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    01-16-2013, 07:15 PM
  #17
Trained
I have never done anything but lose money trying to grow calves from small to big. The problem is that they gain weight, but they bring so much less per pound when they are heavier that you lose money. I have found that I get more money for a 350 pound calf than I do for a 700 pound calf.

I would suggest that you buy a few bred heifers and a bull. I think that on 12 acres, I would buy 5 heifers at the most. Sell the calves at weaning.

You'll make enough money to at least break even and you'll get a tax write-off. You can depreciate your truck, your equipment, save money on property taxes, etc. Get a good tax person to help you out here.

I would suggest black cows that have angus in them. They bring more and it is already hard to break even.

Longhorns are nice on small acreage if you have a death wish. We had some several years ago, and they were very dangerous. They tried to kill us repeatedly.

Likes Bellasmom said, you are probably not going to make much money.
     
    01-23-2013, 09:26 AM
  #18
Weanling
Yeah well I think I am mainly doing it for fun so it will be ok long as its self supporting!
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    01-23-2013, 10:22 AM
  #19
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
With 12 acres no more than 3 head
Wow. Must be some poor quaility grass with only 3 head on 12 acres.

One of our pastures is under 15 acres. 20 cows with calves. All summer.
     
    01-23-2013, 11:52 AM
  #20
Weanling
If you are in an area with hot temperatures, don't get black cows. Red Angus are just as quality as the blacks and much less likely to overheat.
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